Lucky Grandma, directed by Sasie Sealy, finds an unlikely hero in 80-year-old Grandma Wong, as she reclaims her independence following her husband’s death. When a fortune-teller predicts an auspicious day in her future, Grandma Wong heads to the casino to take her luck into her own hands and finds herself in the middle of a Chinatown gang war.
Sealy drew from her own experience as a graduate student taking the New York Chinatown buses to casinos outside of New York. As the only person under 50, Sealy notes that the buses “would be full of all these Chinese grandmas, grandpas, uncles, and aunties on their way to the casino. I had the inspiration for that scene on the bus where the bag falls into the grandma’s lap,” Sealy told MovieMaker, referring to a moment when Grandma Wong is on the bus back to Chinatown and luck quite literally falls into her lap in the form of stolen money from a Chinatown gang.
Noted in the director’s statement of Lucky Grandma as a “love letter to Chinatown and all the badass elderly women who inhabit it,” Grandma Wong’s strength and independence was inspired by the resilient older women in Sealy’s life. “I definitely projected some of my own fears about getting old onto Grandma. “My biggest fear… that I’ll be physically or… mentally unable to take care of myself is… a universal fear for a lot of people,” she said.
In featuring this unique heroine, Sasie Sealy noted how this was an obstacle when raising money for the film. “It was pre-Crazy Rich Asians and nobody in general wants to make a movie about an old woman and especially not an old woman who’s Chinese, when the movie is going to be mostly in Chinese,” she says.
“It’s a roadblock to have a main character who’s not a white male… or even having a script with a female protagonist, much less an Asian one,” Sealy explains.
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Regardless of the difficulties in getting this project off the ground, Sealy outlines her ongoing goal to “tell the stories that are honest about people and to try to make them as specific as possible about wherever they’re from. The human race is pretty diverse and flavorful.” Sealy adds, “you want to have all those flavors.”
Sealy also implemented this flavorful diversity into her crew. Sealy referred to this diversity as a “happy accident,” explaining how her team “hired the people that we thought were best for the job and who were attracted to the story.”
Lucky Grandma is now playing in virtual theaters. To purchase a ticket visit Good Deed Entertainment’s website.